On Friday, Google reported that a fine of 13.38 billion Indian rupees (161.95 million US dollars) levied on it by the Competition Commission of India for alleged anti competitive practices could be a “major setback” for businesses and users in the country. Of course, the penalty imposed is not a huge amount for a big tech company like Google, which values over $1 trillion. It earned 10 times the fine in revenue from the Indian market in the current financial year.
Why did CCI impose a fine on Google?
According to India’s antitrust overseer, Alphabet Inc’s Google had grasped its top position in markets such as App Store and online search in Android in order to protect the protect the place of its applications like Chrome and YouTube in mobile web browsers and online video hosting respectively.
Apart from the fine, the Commission also commanded Google to amend its viewpoint to its Android platform and limited it from entering into various revenue sharing contracts with smartphone manufacturers. The internet giant said that it would review the decision before taking any steps further.
A Google spokesperson said on Friday, “Android has created more choices for everyone, and supports thousands of successful businesses in India and around the world. The CCI’s decision is a major setback for Indian consumers and businesses, opening serious security risks for Indians who trust Android’s security features, and raising the cost of mobile devices for Indians.”
The watchdog asked the company to allow consumers the choice to use or not to use its search engine and allied services on Android, and pave way for budding developers to launch and create more competitive products, etc.
What’s in line for the stakeholders in the Android ecosystem?
The Commission’s probe into Google’s alleged abuse of its monopoly in the Android ecosystem dates back to 2019, when a law school student and two antitrust research associates registered a complaint on this matter.
The complainants had accused the company for having abused its peak position in India and had limited the ability of smartphone makers to choose between any other alternatives for its mobile operating systems.
On September 23, 2019, Google moved to court against the Commission, following an alleged leak of a confidential interim report on the ongoing probe.
In the subsequent year, CCI undertook a new investigation related to Google’s payment system on Play Store.
Last year, another probe was ordered by the commission, which was based on the allegations that Google was exploiting its monopoly in the Android operating system in the smart television market in India.
This month, CCI reported its latest investigation related to the company, which is supposedly about unfair revenue-sharing agreements and anti competitive behaviour.